“How many of us begin a new record with each day of our lives? To me it seems only yesterday that my whole life ended with my new hope, and that truly I began a new record. So it shall be until the Great Recorder sums me up and closes my ledger account with a balance to profit and loss.”
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have had many hopes and dreams in my short life, some of which have weighed heavily on me and have haunted me – hopes I’ve shelved, hopes I’ve not dared to voice, hopes I’ve boldly proclaimed – hopes upon hopes.
Hopes are flighty things, like butterflies, they are beautiful and colourful and hard to pin down. Sometimes they flit into our lives in surprising ways and then flit right out again. Sometimes we keep getting a glance at them, that ‘butterfly’ feeling rises up inside, and then it passes out of reach so that we wonder if it was even there at all.
Then when we have to face the loss of those hopes, disappointment can get hold of us and really shake our resolve. We can lose an hour, a day, a month or even years if we allow our disappointment to get a hold of us.
For more than 10 years I hoped for my Hubby. Sometimes my hope was so tangible that I could almost touch this unknown man. At other times waiting for him felt like a hollow sore place that ached and groaned and seemed so far from the realm of possibility that I was physically unable to allow myself to dream. And as I waited I began to see other hopes slip away, like the hope of children. I felt angry that I’d missed out on so many potential happy years. It was hard not to be disappointed with God. Did He really care, I’d ask myself?
That job you didn’t get, that around the world trip you were saving for, that opportunity missed, that test failed, the business idea you have tucked away, that love lost…
The funny thing that happens when you sit at that dream stop, waiting for your hope to materialise, is that God gives you people to wait with. They may be waiting for the same hope as you or their hope might be different, but they hug and laugh, encourage and pray, chide and confide and remind you that you are not alone. They help you to look outwards. I’m convinced that becoming too self focussed is a one way ticket to disaster. I’m so grateful for those who have been and still are journeying with me. They keep me from self destruction.
I am, and no doubt you are, grappling with a hope and a disappointment right now. Perhaps amid the raw feelings, the hope still remains. You cannot shake it yet. It’s a hope that is not quite ready to leave. If it’s not in your power to make it happen, might I suggest you put it somewhere safe?
I once heard a story about a doctor who, whenever he came across a case of impossible, unexplained healing in a patient, he put the patient’s file in a drawer in his desk which he labelled the ‘miracle drawer’ – he had no medical way of explaining these away, but he had to put them somewhere.
I place my hopes in my journal and in my heart under the file name ‘Impossible prayers’. I have many impossible prayers. They are in safe hands – not my own.
And then I turn to my fellow ‘hopers’ who walk beside me, despite their being spread all over the world, thanks to whatsapp, email, Skype etc, and I remind myself, not what I haven’t got, but what I have: I have a home, I’m warm, I have food, I live in a country which is at peace, I’m not a refugee, I’m not being persecuted for my faith, I am loved, I have work, I have opportunities for learning and advancement, I have loving family, I have health, I am safe.
P.s. I still hope and pray for a child.
P.p.s. For those who are wondering, I decided to leave the lives of my coffee shop strangers in the realm of imagination. I prefer them that way for now. It goes both ways – being a watcher allows me to protect my anonymity and I like it better that way. If one day, the bubble bursts and reality comes crashing in, that will be a turning pointing in the plot, but for now, I like the story as it is.